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M: Maternity/Paternity Leave

Paid family leave combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, and lowers the wage gap between women and men by providing structural support to balance work and family.

Selena's Story

Selena's baby boy, Connor, was born six weeks early. As Connor was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Selena found herself alone in a hospital bed realizing that she was going to go home well before her baby. "There was no way we could afford for me to take off more than we planned,” recalls Selena. So after Selena had the baby on Thursday, she was released from the hospital Friday, and was back at her desk on Monday morning. “It was the hardest two and a half weeks of my life,” she says recalling the ache of being away from her newborn son. More

Read more in our collection of stories from moms and dads across the country about the need for paid family leave.

Know the Facts

  • Having a baby is a leading cause of "poverty spells" in the U.S. -- when income dips below what's needed for basic living expenses.
  • In the U.S., 49% of mothers cobble together paid leave following childbirth by using sick days, vacation days, disability leave, and maternity leave.
  • 51% of new mothers lack any paid leave -- so some take unpaid leave, some quit, some even lose their jobs.
  • The U.S is one of only 4 countries that doesn't offer paid leave to new mothers -- the others are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho.
  • Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20% (and the U.S. ranks a low 37th of all countries in infant mortality).

What You Can Do

MomsBlogging on Maternity & Paternity Leave

UPDATED: Let's talk about Paid Family & Medical Leave!

Posted October 22, 2014 by Sara Alcid

Editor's note: If you missed this chat, you can still go to Working Mother magazine's Facebook Page to see the Q&A. It's a treasure trove of resources. October is National Work & Family Month, making it the perfect time to talk about the importance of paid family and medical leave. At some point, nearly everyone will need to take time [...]

Old Fight, New Approach: Companies Profit from Parity

Posted October 20, 2014 by Megan Beyer

    So you have an important job interview. Your sitter cancels. What do you do? When it happened to First Lady Michelle Obama, she packed up baby Malia, carted her into that job interview, and was completely surprised when she still landed the job.
 
The First Family's efforts to make sure our workplaces are [...]

11 Great Reasons to Vote

Posted October 14, 2014 by Liz Shuler

We’re just a few weeks away from an incredibly important election. The votes people cast Nov. 4 will shape our future and our children’s. I’m sure you are planning to vote, but maybe you know people who are on the fence—who think elections in non-presidential years just aren’t that important. Not true! Here are 11 [...]

From Cuddling to Canvassing

Posted October 14, 2014 by Roberta Riley

  Lately, our idea of a hot date is to fling ourselves onto the couch. Then my husband casts me a knowing glance. I nod.  And the big turn on begins. With the touch of Casanova, he fondles not just one, but five remotes, as we settle in to enjoy the PBS series about Theodore, [...]

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